Japan is an island that sits right on top of The Pacific Ring of Fire – a deadly zone that is characterized by plenty of volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. As a result, it’s not uncommon to feel frequent tremors and earthquakes during your time in Japan. In fact, over 1,500 earthquakes happen in Japan every year.
Now, this may leave you terrified and unwilling to visit Japan. But, despite this, it’s good to know that Japan is the most prepared country in the world for an earthquake – with stringent building codes, drills taught from childhood, and emergency signposts everywhere.
However, there are still plenty of things that you can do to prepare for any earthquakes that may occur. So keep this checklist in mind during your stay in Japan, and hopefully they can help reduce your risk of being injured.
It’s a good idea to mark out the emergency exits and safe spaces in your accommodation or office as soon as you can. Occasionally running drills or reminding yourself of action plans could also help you mentally prepare for any emergency situation.
Another useful idea is to learn about any evacuation plans for the area that you are staying in. Many cities and villages in Japan have different evacuation routes and emergency shelters – so plot them out if you don’t want to get stuck in a panic. And if you are staying near the coastline, then make sure you know where to go if there’s a tsunami warning.
In fact, if you’re staying with friends or family, it’s advisable that you plan all of these routes out and that you know exactly where you will meet in case you’re split up during an emergency situation.
Having a well-stocked emergency kit is probably one of the best things you could do to prepare for an earthquake. The Red Cross gives quite an extensive list of what should be in every kit, but here are the most important items to be included:
- Food and Water (3 days supply)
- First-aid kit
- Multi-purpose tool
- Space blanket
- Copy of important documents
- Petty cash
- Wind-up radio
If you want a more detailed list of items that you should have in your kit, click here.
Earthquake Early Warning systems and emergency announcement services are often key to keeping people calm and informed during any natural disaster. Therefore, it’s recommended that you become familiar with the multitude of communication services that are available to you – from apps to websites to radio stations. It’s important to have a wide variety of sources in case one of them gets knocked out by the earthquake.
- List of useful earthquake apps
- List of useful services
- Japan Meteorological Agency website
- The Disaster Emergency Message Dial (171)
- NHK Television and Radio
- List of useful Japanese for Emergencies
And speaking of communication tools, it’s important that you have a cellphone handy when an emergency does happen. This is so that you can not only check on the safety of others, but also allow for others to check your own safety. It is actually recommended that you keep an extra cellphone battery pack in your emergency kit, just in case.
However, due to the fact that some communication towers might become out of service or overloaded during an earthquake, it’s a good idea to check out these different methods of contacting loved ones – it could help with effective communication and reduced panic:
If you’re staying at a hotel, or rented apartment, securing everything in your home might be difficult (as you could lose your deposit). However, there are a number of other decisions that you can make:
Firstly, choosing a place that was built after 1981 is key. This is because the building codes and regulations were amended during this time in order to create safer buildings that have a higher chance of withstanding an earthquake.
Secondly, you can find out more about different things that you can do around your house in case of emergencies. For example, knowing how to switch off the gas and electricity is a must, while knowing the emergency exits and safe points in your building is also of high importance.
Finally, you can also control the layout of your own home – making sure that there are no blockages and that all of your appliances are in secure areas. Oh, and make sure that your bed is not positioned under anything dangerous that could collapse onto it.
Below is a link of some useful websites that you should definitely check out:
- Red Cross Earthquake Checklist
- Red Cross Tsunami Checklist
- Surviving in Japan: Expat Guide
- Safety Tips for Travelers
If you’re more interested in seeing what you should actually do during an earthquake, then check out this post here.